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Quick Tip - Difference Between a Resume and a CV

So… a Resume and a CV. Sounds like it should be the same document, right? Are they really? Some countries ask for CVs, while others as for resumes. Which is the correct term? Before we decide on that, let’s first explain in detail what each term means.

In North America, a resume is a written summary of all educational and professional (and sometimes personal) qualifications of a job applicant. A resume highlights the applicant’s experience in relation to the job in question. A resume usually

  • is 2 pages maximum

  • highlights either the last 3 relevant positions held, or positions held within the last 5 years

  • leans more on experience, e.g. how did you practice the theory you learned in school? In what situations did you make use of your knowledge

A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is the extensive-detailed document (not a summary) of an applicant’s education and profession. CV usually

  • can be more than 2 pages

  • leans more on criteria - skills acquired (including when and where they were acquired)

  • highlights education specifics, research experience, all certifications acquired, and professional affiliations one belongs to, licenses, awards, and so on

While resumes are most commonly used in North America, CVs are mostly required in most places in Europe, Africa, Middle east and Asia. Although these CVs act as the equivalent of resumes, they do require more information than North American CV, such as Date of Birth, marital status, gender, and so on.

Is there a correct term for this document, then? As previously mentioned, in North America, most applications will ask for a resume. Depending on the job, you’ll only be asked for a CV if you’re seeking a job or career path that demands full details of your education and experience. Such professions include teaching, nursing/doctorate, clinical/scientific research, etc.

Now that you know the difference between both, you should know how best to format your document that best suits the job requirements you’re applying for.

Happy writing.



This hub offers writing tips and resources to help YOU write more concise and savvy content -- be it resumes, articles, manuscripts, or any form of written communication.

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